Home » Brain fog after COVID-19: This is how occupational therapists support those affected

Brain fog after COVID-19: This is how occupational therapists support those affected

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Brain fog after COVID-19: This is how occupational therapists support those affected

06.02.2024 – 10:00

German Association of Occupational Therapy eV (DVE)

Karlsbad (ots)

Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms that persist after COVID-19 illness. “Brain fog can also occur in other contexts, such as generally after viral infections, during stress or during and after a migraine attack,” says Miriam Leventic, occupational therapist at the DVE (German Association of Ergotherapy eV), explaining the consequences of a COVID-19 disease neutral light. However, according to the expert, anyone who is ill should consult a doctor if difficulties persist. Loss of concentration, difficulty finding words and mental exhaustion can be signs of brain fog. With pacing, a form of energy management, and other concepts and approaches from behavioral and occupational therapy, it is almost always possible to bring about an improvement: those affected can manage to go about their everyday lives despite their impairments and increasingly find something positive in life.

COVID-19 has largely lost its terror. “Most of them have had the viral infection once or several times without any significant complications,” says occupational therapist Miriam Leventic, confirming the current situation. Occupational therapists like Miriam Leventic are now mostly confronted with post-Covid cases such as brain fog; The RKI (Robert Koch Institute) currently assumes that around 6.5% of those affected will have Post Covid. “Regardless of the severity, brain fog is almost always accompanied by exhaustion,” the occupational therapist quotes findings from the scientific literature. Energy management is therefore the be-all and end-all in Post Covid and Brain Fog in order to enable those affected to deal more skillfully with their illness-related difficulties in their everyday lives. From occupational therapists, you will learn, among other things, techniques and strategies to compensate for your lack of concentration and attention, limited action planning and execution, or impaired processing of auditory and visual stimuli.

Occupational therapy inventory of everyday life

First, occupational therapists deal with the everyday life of their patients: How do the individual days go, what is the structure of the week and what is the relationship between stress and resilience? The specialists question their patients in great detail in order to identify any potential for change, i.e. energy saving measures on the one hand and more opportunities to recharge on the other. You will find out where you can clear out your everyday life of things that either unnecessarily drain energy from the person concerned, mean less to them than others, or that they can delegate. At the same time, people with brain fog or other post-Covid-related problems learn the “pacing” method in order to identify and adhere to their individual stress limits. In order to use pacing correctly, occupational therapists practice this procedure with their patients until it becomes second nature to them and until they find it easy to integrate pacing into their everyday lives. During regular checks, occupational therapists determine whether and when the person can increase the duration of the load. By consistently adhering to the load limits, the time periods for individual activities can be continuously extended.

Occupational therapists motivate people with brain fog to use resources in a targeted manner

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Occupational therapists, together with those affected by brain fog, find support in compensatory strategies that provide relief: using calendars where someone previously had all the appointments in mind. Apps that provide reminders or other impulses. Journaling, a method of recording thoughts, tasks and everything that is important in everyday life in writing. All of this serves to use the available resources in a targeted manner, to ensure functioning in everyday life and to prevent mental exhaustion from continuing. Resources play a central role in occupational therapy, as do acceptance and commitment. It is often younger, active people, in the middle of their professional careers, who remain with post-Covid syndrome with brain fog after COVID-19. Post Covid is a clinical picture with complex stress, exhaustion problems and cognitive failures. It is incredibly difficult to endure this psychologically, especially since the carousel of thoughts is constantly spinning and those affected are concerned with existential questions, such as: Will I ever be completely healthy again? Can I reclaim outsourced or delegated work areas? Are the once ambitious professional goals still achievable? How are the finances?

Occupational therapists help people with brain fog achieve acceptance and commitment

It is the acceptance (of the illness or the situation) that often brings those affected forward in their development. “Occupational therapists traditionally focus on the available resources,” says Miriam Leventic and continues: “We meet our patients at the point where they are at the moment and always make them aware of the resources that are available to them help to compensate for their deficits; this strengthens them and gives them a different perspective. The concept of “acceptance and commitment” comes from behavioral therapy and is increasingly finding its way into occupational therapy practices. In addition to acceptance, which ends the fight against what is, there is commitment. Commitment includes, among other things, personal development and that is exactly what occupational therapists are about: working with the sick person to find out their inner drive and to recognize what makes life valuable for this person. And to plan and align your own life so that the important things can happen. Also looking at how recovery phases can be designed so that they are good for the soul. “Many are discovering new things for themselves, new hobbies, activities or relaxation methods such as Qi Gong or yoga, which combine meditation, concentration and movement,” says occupational therapist Leventic, sharing insights from her post-Covid patients. She reports that in conversation, sporting, craft or musical skills or interests from the past that were thought to be lost often come to mind. All of these activities not only provide the recovery you need, but often lead to important experiences of success – another positive aspect that people with brain fog can pay attention to. Because that is also part of the reflection in every lesson: realizing that beautiful things actually shape everyday life and that the perception of not being able to do anything anymore is a thought, not a reality.

Occupational therapists include the environment of people with brain fog

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Occupational therapists always look at the person as a whole, which means that they include the environment and the people around them – this is essential in post-Covid and brain fog. “I always advise my patients to communicate their situation transparently right from the start,” says occupational therapist Leventic, something that very few people like to hear. Leventic knows how difficult it is for most people to ask for support, even when it is clear from the start that continuing as before is doomed to failure. Especially at work, people with post-Covid and brain fog make mistakes; their lack of concentration and reduced performance are inevitably noticeable. Conflicts are inevitable if those affected do not approach their colleagues, their team or their superiors directly. If necessary, occupational therapists offer to practice such a conversation together. Auditory and visual sensory stimuli often cause problems for people with brain fog, which creates additional difficulties at work. Occupational therapists also give tips for reducing stimuli. The goal: to keep the background noise as low as possible while working, i.e. keep your cell phone on silent, no music in the background or wear hearing protection if the workplace is in an open-plan office. Sometimes employers can also provide a separate room temporarily. In order to limit the visual overstimulation, it is recommended to wear special workplace glasses that filter the blue light from the screen and to adjust the screen settings accordingly.

Occupational therapists uncover energy guzzlers

“Another critical aspect for employees in the office is often a lack of variety and exercise during work and no recovery during breaks,” says the occupational therapist. It is not uncommon for people to sit in front of the screen all the time and not move away from their workplace and even spend their breaks there, usually with their cell phone in their hand. “A short walk into nature or an exchange with colleagues brings fresh energy, ensures relaxation and has a motivating effect for the rest of the time,” recommends Miriam Leventic, who also advocates using cell phones and being present in social settings during brain fog Drastically reduce media. It is well known how unrefreshing this is for people who are not affected by brain fog. Finally, the occupational therapist appeals to everyone who has overcome post-Covid and brain fog not to fall into old patterns, but to continue to internalize and practice what they have learned. Life goes on, but best in a mode adapted with the help of occupational therapy.

Information material on the diverse topics of occupational therapy is available from the occupational therapists on site; Occupational therapists near your home can be found on the association’s homepage at https://dve.info/service/therapeutensuche

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Press contact:

Angelika Reinecke, German Association of Occupational Therapy eV (DVE),
[email protected]

Original content from: German Association of Ergotherapy eV (DVE), transmitted by news aktuell

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